Ultrasound as a tool for OSHA compliance

Combining ultrasonic leak detection and dual-channel gas detection helps meet OSHA PSM requirements.

By Paul Studebaker, Control

Strong activity in U.S. oil and gas production has led to a proliferation of new wells in shale regions around the country and federal attention to well pad safety and emissions. "Since June 1, OSHA has required process safety management (PSM) for oil and gas drilling and servicing, oil and gas production facilities and atmospheric storage tanks," said Josh Peters, manager, measurement, communication and automation, Seneca Resources Corp., to his session attendees at the Emerson Global Users Exchange in Denver. Seneca drills, completes and produces large, multi-pad well installations.

Peters described how he uses two technologies—dual-channel gas monitoring and ultrasonic leak detection—to help Seneca meet the OSHA PSM mandate. "Combining both technologies is a cure-all for detecting any gas emissions," he said.

The presentation started with ultrasonic leak detection. Emerson Process Management's GDU-Incus is "like a microphone—it listens for leaks, for ultrasonic sounds in the 25-100 kHz range that we can't hear," Peters said. "It's well suited for outdoor applications because it's not affected by wind or weather. The gas doesn't have to reach the detector."

To learn more about leak detection, read “Leak detection helps wells meet OSHA PSM requirements” from Control.

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